Sunday, June 11, 2017

Empacho Restaurant & Bar: Beautifully Prepared Filipino Favorites That Leave You Craving for More

With all the Filipino restaurants all over Metro Manila, it's extremely difficult to find one you would find yourself frequently drawn to. Manam is definitely one of my favorites, with a variety of unique dishes that offers a welcome twist to Filipino cuisine, along with Serye because of their delicious, more traditional Filipino recipes highlighted by their amazing Kare-Kare. Empacho Restaurant & Bar, a newly opened restaurant in Tomas Morato, just joined this exclusive list of my personal favorite Filipino restaurants. 

True to its name, Empacho compels you to enjoy food until you can't bring yourself to eat anymore. That is what good food does. You get to taste dishes that are very memorable that you find yourself longing to come back. I can't wait to get my hands on a bowl of Spicy Tamarind Wings again or their decadent take on Salted Egg Lava Cake. Let's not forget the magnificent Empacho Lechon Belly in all it's glory or Empacho's VERY CRISPY Pork Sisig

These are all dishes I would find myself coming back for and it's just amazing when a restaurant does that to a customer.

Here's what you can expect from Empacho Restaurant & Bar...

I love the restaurant's very industrial interiors with high ceilings and large windows. It's a beautiful place for a nice meal and I can imagine it getting a bit lively and fully of energy at night.

The Smoked Blood Sausage (Php 350) is Empacho's take on the classic Filipino favorite dinuguan. The sausages are smoked for hours and is served with puto and coconut creme anglaise. To eat it, try to get a little bit of everything in one bite - puto, blood sausage, and a drizzle of creme anglaise. It's a nice way to turn a dish that doesn't look too appetizing, to one that is beautiful and mouthwatering. I'm not a dinuguan lover, but I thought every bite of this was delicious.

The smoky flavor of the sausage marries so well with the fluffy bites of puto and that rich coconut creme anglaise. Two thumbs for both creativity and deliciousness! 

The Spicy Tamarind Wings (Php 370) is, no doubt, my favorite dish from Empacho. These little bites of deliciousness are sticky and succulent in every bite - with bangs sweet, sour, and spicy - that makes it the perfect way to get your taste-buds salivating at the start of the meal. A lot of care has been put into making sure these chicken wings only have ONE BONE so that it's very easy to eat. Once finished, I can lick the plate clean with NO SHAME. 

It's a crowd favorite and I am not surprised why. Talk about another dish that's both delicious and creative! No excuses, you must order this dish! 

The Soft Shell Crab Aligue Pasta (Php 420) is pasta that's made with deliciously rich aligue. I love how the soft-shell crab is flavored to perfection, complementing the rich pasta quite well. It's recommended for the seafood lovers out there, and I can say you won't be disappointed by this beauty of a dish!

Empacho's Crispy Pork Sisig (Php 350) is VERY CRISPY - just the way I like to enjoy my sisig. It's very tasty on it's own that you don't need to season it with any Knorr seasoning (Yes, it makes sisig such a winner) and it's also quite spicy for those of you who love a bit of heat. 

This is one dish you should definitely order and it's perfect with a cold bottle of beer at night. 

Empacho's version of Crispy Pork Kare-Kare (Php 395) is a beautifully cooked, deep-fried piece of pork bagnet that's swimming with rich, homemade annatto peanut sauce, bagoong, and vegtables. It's probably the best "Pork bagnet Kare-kare" around because of the richness and nuttiness of the sauce that brightens up when eaten with a good dose of the salty bagoong. The bagnet is beautifully crisp that a person a few tables away can probably hear you enjoying it. 

This version definitely falls into my top 3 kare-kare dishes which is high praise because I consider kare-kare to be one of my favorite Filipino dishes. Highly recommended! 

Empacho's Lechon Belly (Php 790) is probably the most glorious dish on Empacho's menu and is one of their signature dishes. But, is it as good as it looks? 

The problem with lechon, normally, is that you get a lot of beautifully crispy skin that's flavored to perfection but the meat tends to be a little bit bland, which is why Filipinos resort to a lot of sarsa or vinegar for added flavor. You'd get none of that in Empacho because even the Lechon meat is spiced up beautifully with hinds of lemongrass and a bit of smokiness. The skin crackles beautifully and it's probably on the same level as some of the most delicious lechon you'd find in Cebu. 

It's a winner and it is worth every peso that you pay for it. Highly recommended, it's a great dish to share with your family and friends. Trust me, you'll probably fight over who gets that last bit of lechon. 

The Salted Egg Lava Cake (Php 150) is one decadent dessert that I find myself craving for over and over again. It's frankly one of the best desserts I've tried all year! It reminds me of a good salted-egg bun from popular Chinese restaurants. With the salted egg craze still around Metro Manila for the immediate future, it's a must-try dessert with that beautifully oozing salty, sweet custard in the middle. 

I love it, and I'm pretty sure you would too! 

Empacho's Ice Tea (Php 95) and Empacho Bitters (Php 95) are two very refreshing drinks that help cut through the richness of the dishes they serve. Personally, I prefer the Empacho Bitters because it's more refreshing and I find it's the tastier of the two with the lovely balance of sweet, sour, and bitter. Go for it!

Food Quality: 5.0
Service Quality: -
Ambiance: 5.0

Overall Quality: 5.0

Empacho Restaurant & Bar serves excellent Filipino food that's creative, affordable, and most of all delicious. All the dishes that come out of their kitchen are beautifully plated and you can see that a lot of care and hard work is put into every plate of food. I wouldn't be surprised if customers would travel to Tomas Morato from all over Metro Manila just to have a taste of Empacho's spectacular dishes... I know I would. 

In the Philippines where it's very difficult to stand out as a Filipino restaurant, Empacho is here to shake up the local Filipino cuisine with delicious, beautifully plated Filipino food. From the dishes I've tried so far, every dish has exceeded all my expectations. 

Empacho is one restaurant you shouldn't miss! 

Further reading you might like:

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    Chef Jay

    Empacho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. The author did not pay for any of the dishes mentioned in this article. This, however, does not impair the unbiased opinion of the reviewer. 

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